The importance of Blind baking
As a newly wed ( in my last year of teen-hood) and in my early twenties, I remember trying numerous tarts, pies and quiches and the bottom was always soggy. I couldn’t understand why. (this was before the days of “just google it”) Until one day I learned of the technique called “blind baking”.
So what does blind baking mean? For the benefit of anyone new to baking, Blind baking is simply precooking your pastry with a weight on it (like rice or baking beans) for a few minutes before adding your filling. This makes the tart shell, pastry crispy and cooked through and the filling will not seep into it making it soggy.
After the pastry dough is made, it normally gets wrapped in cling wrap and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill. Cold pastry is easier to work with.
Above photo is rolling out shortcrust pastry for cheesecake.
In these photos I was making a cheesecake. So I used shortcrust pastry that I had precooked on a baking tray. After it had cooled, I then broke it up and added it to a food processor to form a crumb. Lastly I added melted butter and then this mixture was then pressed into the baking tin.
If you are using your pastry cold from the fridge, then you would normally roll it out and place it in the tin of choice and then lightly prick it all over with a fork. This prevents it from bubbling and also helps it to cook evenly and remain flat.
First add a piece of baking paper on the bottom, press your pastry into your tin of choice then Place another sheet of baking over the top and finally add your baking beans or uncooked rice. (I like to use rice and use the same rice kernels over and over again).
Cook your pastry (normally on about 200° C ) for about 10-12 minutes. Then remove the baking beans/rice and top layer of baking paper and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then you can add your filling (this works the same for quiche and pie and tarts)
A bit of an extra safety net is to brush your cooked pastry with egg white once it has cooled down and then cook it again for about 3 minutes or wait for it to dry before adding your filling. (the egg white seals the holes you made by pricking your pastry with a fork)
You now cook your cake/quiche/tart/pie according to the recipe instructions.
The result is a cripsy cooked base every time.
Above is the cheesecake after cooking.
I hope that this method helps you if you are new to baking.
Photo credits (apart from blog graphic) by Elaine Sangster